So is Top Chef just trying to annoy us now?

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‘Top Chef: Seattle’ has gotten a bit too invested in its drama that it sometimes forgets about having a cooking competition.

 

Okay, let me be clear here — I don’t think this is a bad season of Top Chef. Although that’s really entirely due to the legitimate talent and interesting conchefstants, despite the nonsense. The nonsense, I say! What do I mean? As per usual, the season started slow, although there were a few interesting people right off the bat, some of whom are still around. We also had the little twist of three returning chefs, who had … different ways they affected the show.

There’s nothing wrong with a bit of drama, but on this show I expect the most talented chef to actually get to the end.

But for a while, Top Chef seemed so dead set on replicating the magic of last season’s Paul vs That Lady I Forget the Name Of by finding a villain in the group. By which I mean that there was a conchefstant I really didn’t want to win. But the closest we came were the incompetent and abrasive Josie and the arrogantly overconfident Stefan, both “coincidentally” involved with Kristen, the “Eliminated Too Early” chef. There’s nothing wrong with a bit of drama, but on this show I expect the most talented chef to actually get to the end.

Right now we have a pretty interesting final group:

Sheldon, the guy with a highly specific background in Asian dishes, trying to try new things and not always succeeding. And he failed at tempura (drink!) twice!

By the way, if you’ve been doing the Top Chef drinking game, considering all the mentions of shallots, scallops, and fennel, you are now actually dead from alcohol poisoning. But back to the conchefstants:

Josh is the good ol’ Southern boy that finally got called to task on his overuse of bacon which, let’s be honest, was getting tiresome. He’s skilled, but kind of a jerk. If his personality was a bit more outsized, he’d be a better fit for the “villain” category the show has been trying to get.

Brooke is just an all around talent that has only improved as the season has progressed.

A good trio of chefs, each with their own strengths and weaknesses, ideal for a finale. But we also have the silliness of Last Chance Kitchen (a way to get more views on the Bravo website, I guess?), where Kristen has crushed the competition because she’s probably the best actual chef from this season. And yet she was eliminated for being a bit too stubborn, because they just had to keep the clearly less capable Josie around longer — and she was sent home the very next episode. So how’d that work out for you? They couldn’t maintain the illusion of Josie not being the weakest any longer, because she obviously was the worst left.

If I was a cynical viewer, I’d suspect they intentionally send a more talented chef to Last Chance Kitchen to get the ol’ “She Deserves to Be Back” effect!

If I was a cynical viewer, I’d suspect they intentionally send a more talented chef to Last Chance Kitchen to get the ol’ “She Deserves to Be Back” effect! Actually… I think I do suspect that. Curse your cleverness, Top Chef! So the question is whether or not it’ll matter, if Kristen loses next week, it’s an anticlimactic end to a great run. If she wins and comes back, then what? We haven’t had a female winner of the show in a while, and only one at all (Stephanie in Season 3). I think it’s about time. I’ve been suspecting this entire season that they were pushing for a female winner in subtle ways, but now I’m not sure. If Kristen does come back, I’ll feel vindicated on my suspicions, and also glad that my favorite conchefstant of the season is still in it. Oh, and I guess there’s that Save a Chef that’s a transparent way to get more social media interaction, but I’ll only care about that if it affects the finale.

Don’t think I haven’t figured you out Top Chef! You win this round. But if someone doesn’t win that I want to, I’ll be marginally disappointed. The truth is that there isn’t really one you “love to hate” now that Josie’s gone, considering that Josh is actually evolving as a chef. I guess the season hasn’t been so bad after all. Just stop trying so hard Top Chef, it makes you seem desperate.

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Photo Credit: Bravo

One Comment on “So is Top Chef just trying to annoy us now?

  1. I’ll admit – I wanted Kristen to win from the beginning, I definitely think her getting axed instead of Josie was a ratings move (not one based on actual merit), and think you’re right – what a great story it makes if ‘the one that left too early’ comes back and wins it all! (Manufactured) Cinderella story!

    AND I’ll admit I only started tuning in to LCK online after Kristen left. I’m just a pawn in this marketing game.

    That being said – I think they are overdoing it on LCK and Save a Chef. Do one or the other! Not both! It is overwhleming. Now you get kicked off – but not really bc you get a second and third chance at coming back. Take a que from the (Bravo version of ) Project Runway and have a chef named Viewer’s Choice, with a smaller but still significant prize.

    My biggest gripe with LCK and Save a Chef isn’t bc it is overwhelming to viewers though – it is that the chefs KNOW it. Last season’s LCK was so great because (you could watch it On Demand, first of all… but also bc) the chefs didn’t see it coming. It was a surprise. The chefs this season have discussed LCK mutliple times! They are ust waiting for that ‘twist’ of a chef coming back. Lame.

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